After leading the children of Israel from Egypt to Sinai, God was now ready to take them to the next level. Before leading them on the second phase of their journey--from Sinai to Caanan, God would establish His covenant with them.
This covenant included establishing the terms of the covenant--the Ten Commandments and a means of worship--the sanctuary service.
God expressed His intention to Israel by saying, “4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine,6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” Exodus 19:4–6 (RSV)
Once the people consented to enter into this covenant, God begun to outline the terms of the covenant. He said, “1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1–3 (RSV)
In other words, you have seen how I plagued Egypt for your sake and delivered you from the iron grip of Pharaoh; how I parted the Red Sea for you to walk on dry land; sent you water from a rock in a desert land; bread from heaven and provided shade for you both in the night and during the day.
Now, based on all that I have done for you, do you believe I am qualified to take care of you without the help of anything or anyone else?
Therefore, God says, “you shall have no other gods before me.” I believe it is reasonable to ask that you should have no other gods before Me. The manifestation of My power before this was to make it clear to you, that not only should you not serve any other gods, but you really do not need any other gods besides Me.
I should be enough for you--for food, for water, for protection, for sustenance, for prosperity, you really do not need any other gods. For, in ancient times, the nations would serve gods based on what they believe the god could do for them. For example, the god of fertility, of rain, of the sun and so on.
God was calling Israel to be a mono-thesis nation--a nation with only one God--a God who is enough for all their needs. Joshua's last counsel to Israel: “And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (RSV)
This is the question that the first commandment asks of us today, “is the God of heaven enough for us?” And if so, we really should have no other gods before Him. In our context, these “gods” would refer to our money, family, job, possessions or anything else that we depend on more than how we depend on our Father in heaven.
For example, when Jesus said to the young ruler who came to him and asked, “what good thing shall I do to have eternal life?”, when Jesus finally said to him, “if you would enter into life, sell all you have and give to the poor, then come and follow Me”, the ruler finally recognized that (inspite of his profession) he was guilty of breaking the first commandment and by extension guilty of all. For he depended on his riches more than he was willing to depend on Jesus.
Today, we often face similar challenges, “do we really trust God with our future?” Do we truly believe that He is enough for us?
Israel struggled with this issue in the Wilderness, for even after they saw the evidences of God’s power, when they met upon difficulties, instead of believing that God is able to provide for them, they complained and murmured against God and His servant Moses.
If we ought to obey the first commandment, we ought to answer this question, “is God enough for me?” And if He is enough, “then I should make Him first and last and best in all my life.”comments powered by Disqus